Nedelina, Bulgaria (28)
Nedelina is a developer for the Bulgarian postal administration. With highlighters in her right hand and stickers in her left, she prioritises the previous session’s orientations with great attention to detail and thoroughness. “I didn’t come to walk the streets and drink coffee, I came to make a difference! I’m here to work!” As a developer, she hopes to deliberate on topics specific to digital transformation. Despite the incredible boost in digitalisation among universities, but also in public and private sectors since the coronavirus outbreak, she would like to think about transition processes that were not done “in the rush of the Covid-19 pandemic”. “We didn’t have enough hardware and our software was of low quality for a healthy and innovative transition. Everything was built in a hurry; we didn’t have time to think.” Nedelina will be working on this specific topic during the subgroup sessions.
“I take this conference very seriously, I am here to work!
Hrisitian, Bulgaria (18)
Hrisitian is a history buff. It was a surprise when he learned that the last session of the Citizens’ Panel would take place in Dublin, a city founded by the Vikings in the 12th century. “I am passionate about medieval times, the Romans era and this opportunity to learn something about the history of a country I know very little about was an opportunity not to be missed! Dublin Castle is in perfect condition, it’s beautiful!” Beyond his fondness for European history, this young history enthusiast, who works in the customer service department of a food store, shares his historical perspective on today’s Europe: “Here you can see that the EU has taken care of Ireland’s heritage, it has taken care of its legacy and its traditions. Before, the continent that had the most wars was this very Europe, I am proud to be part of it now that it is unified and to be part of this Conference that I hope will unify its nations even more.”
“Before, the continent that had the most wars was this very Europe, I am proud to be part of it now that it is unified.
Justine, France (39)
Justine is a 39-year-old acoustic folk pop singer, who has experienced a trauma from which she is only now recovering. As she survived rape in 2017, she now says that the Conference on the Future of Europe is now a way to give back what was taken from her a few years ago. “When I was called to participate, I thought it was fate, because I had been discredited by the police and judiciary at the time. To me, being here today is like being compensated for my hardship.”
She intends to use this platform to raise her voice about violence against women in light of her suffering both in the police station but also when she was silenced by family and relatives.
In 2019, the UN Security Council adopted, by 13 votes and 2 abstentions (Russia and China), a resolution to combat rape as a weapon of war, but with no substance. Justine’s resolution today is simple: to have the EU recognise rape as a weapon of war.
Her arrival in Dublin, Ireland, for this last session of the Citizen Panels is a breath of fresh air to “speak the language that I sing, but never speak!”
“It’s a gift for me to be at the CoFoE after what I’ve been through!
Sibylline, France (16)
Sibylline is a 16-year-old girl, shy and reserved. Engrossed in her “science & technology laboratory” books, she felt overwhelmed when she was told she would be speaking in public at the Conference on the Future of Europe for the first time in September. However, she was able to deliberate with during the Panel about the issues that are of interest to her: LGBTQI issues, youth and education. “Sometimes I have a lot of information in my head but it’s hard for me to find the words and talk about it. So, I joined an association, the Young Ecological Generations, which helps me to speak in public and to have confidence in my ideas. It also helped me a lot speaking in public during these Citizens’ Panels, today I hope I will be able to speak about my desire to change things in relation to the discrimination faced by LGBTQI people for example, because we should not do things differently because of our gender or our skin colour.”
“Here I can overcome my fear of speaking in public because I have important things to say.